From Ukraine to UK, from UK to Ukraine

in Team Ukraine13 days ago (edited)

From Ukraine to UK

Recently I have been volunteering at my local airport to welcome Ukrainians coming into our country. This is a scheme operated by the UK government to set up welcome hubs in the main airports, port and train stations to offer support for Ukrainians and act as a meeting point for host families coming to pick them up. UK has a bad rep for the red tape required to get a settlement visa, so I'm hoping whatever little thing I can do can help the Ukrainians feel more welcome when they finally arrive.
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My first day of volunteering was on the second day the welcome hub started at my local airport. I avoided the first day as things are normally a bit chaotic at the beginning. We had a small table by the flight arrivals notice board, someone had bought a Ukrainian flag as a table cloth, and there were a few posters up on the wall. Our role was was give out some information leaflets, and provide information on any onward travel arrangements (Ukranians get free public transport if they show their passport) or any other information they needed. We also had waters, and snacks if they needed it.


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We don't know who or when will be arriving, but are given approximate numbers arriving at a particular hour, but no flight details. The first couple of hours of my shift nothing happened and we just sat around looking out for arrivals who look like they may be refugees. We started to play a guessing game looking at the arrival flights and guess if there would be Ukrainians on board. Someone stopped by to thank us which I thought was very undeserving as we weren't really doing anything great.

By the end of my shift, two families had arrived. One was met by their host family so we didn't have to do much. The other, Anna, arrived with her beautiful daughter Lera who was probably 5 or 6 years old. Lera really put me to shame as she knew more English than I Ukrainian. Luckily the war didn't seem to have much adverse effect on her, and she was in great spirits. When I gave her some chocolate and sweets, she gave me a chocolate back in exchange 😍

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So far I've done six shifts and every time I turn up, the welcome desk has evolved as all the volunteers put their little mark on it to make it more welcome. On my second shift, we got a bigger table, it looked much better.
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Then a few days later somebody put up some bunting, and a few more welcome posters. We also had a donation bucket. I was so overwhelmed by people's generosity. During one afternoon shift that lasted four hours, we received over £100 in donation. Many people donated their foreign loose coins, and some even went to get cash out from the ATM to donate.
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Some local businesses donated toys for the children. It was so beautiful to see their little faces light up when we gave them the toys and sweets.
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This is the first time I've done any volunteering job and although it's not always very busy. it's very rewarding when we can help people. Chatting to the host family whilst they wait for their Ukrainians to arrive is very interesting. Most complained about the amount of time it takes to process the settlement visa, and many ended up writing to their local MP (Member of Parliament) to get things moving. Some host families drives 3 or 4 hours from Cornwall, an area further down south, as our airport is bigger. A few of them were so emotional when they finally meet their Ukrainians. Another gentleman came to pick up a family of 6. A mother with her 2 young children, her parents and a female relative. The gentleman said his mother had died recently leaving behind a house. He wanted to put that into good use as he knew it was difficult for a family of 6 to find host families so they could stay together. He hired a mini van to come pick them up, and of course the mini van driver offered his services free of charge.

Not all stories are so happy. Yesterday, a host family returned to the airport with a Ukranian mother and her child who had arrived in UK just a few days ago. It turns out the husband had passed away, and she had to return back to Ukraine. People die in the war, and this death, like many others was totally unnecessary. A woman has lost her husband and a child will never see his father again.


From UK to Ukraine

A couple of weeks ago I sent a feel good package to @zirochka in Ukraine. Many daily items are still in short supply in Ukraine so I sent her some random girlie things to cheer her up and make her more comfortable - herbal tea, hand cream, facials mask, wolly socks, eye drops etc. I wasn't sure how long it would take for the parcel to arrive, or if it would arrive at all. There was a whole week with no update and I was worried the parcel had dropped into a black hole. Then suddenly, the parcel was with Ukraine customs and she had collected it a few days ago!!
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I'm so happy to see a beautiful smile from @zirochka and that she is able to enjoy a tea break from UK. 💙💛

Credit @zirochka

You can read about it in her post here as well.
https://peakd.com/mywartimediary/@zirochka/my-wartime-diary-small-pleasures-of-life-in-the-sea-of-pain


100% of this post rewards will be sent to @zirochka to support her in doing what is needed in Ukraine for those in need. I would be grateful for your generous support and upvote. Thanks.

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Wow, that is really awesome that you are able to do this great thing for those people. I can't imagine feeling so displaced and lost. It has to be scary and traumatic. That is cool that people were giving donations and stuff. What a great way to brighten a pretty dreary time.

The generousity and kindness of the people are really amazing, some of the other volunteers said some passer-by went into the shops and bought some chocolate for them

That is awesome!

What a great way to spend your time. It was interesting to hear about your experiences so far, even if there is a lot of down time. Glad @zirochka got your package too.

It definitely is a much better use of time than sitting at home not doing anything. Plus it's great to meet other volunteers, ie new people in general

Thank you for your support

I'm very limited in what I can do to help, so hope every little bit helps. Hope you are doing well

Sadly, in wars, there are so many stories without happy endings. It is unfortunate for the woman who lost her husband and for the son his father. :(

It must feel good to be able to help a little to make refugees feel welcome. And that smile with that you have closed the post is worth gold and gladdens the heart.

Absolutely, anything we can do no matter how small it is will hopefully make a difference.

So kind, so inspiring. You are an amazing person Pauline. Thanks for everything you have been doing to help the people of Ukraine.

You are so kind with your words Petr, what I'm doing is really nothing compared to what everyone is doing in Poland, you guys are the real heroes helping out

I am proud of our acquaintance.

Thank you, dear Pauline 💙💛

!LUV

The pleasure is on me. You have shown us how strong and brave human beings are, I'm not sure if I could spent the past few months alone like you have. ❤️

This is really wonderful work. I am really happy to see that you decided to dedicate your precious time to helping Ukrainians that are really needed now. This will be a lifetime experience...

I wish you all the best and hopefully, we will meet one day...

P.S: You will hear a lot of heartbreaking stories and will be able to gather life experiences while helping people... I wish you will be able to help people in need.

Those few others a week is very rewarding, knowing that I can do something, even very minor to help people. It's much better use of my time than just sitting in front of the TV, plus it is quiet with no one arriving, I can still get on my mobile and surf Hive🙂

Hope all is well in Amsterdam. I was there the other week, lovely city, but I guess you will be seeing it differently from me. Give it some time, and I'm sure things will improve. Take care

What a gift you give here @livinguktaiwan 🥰 thank you so much for it.
Very inspirational!

I'm so glad the feel good box arrived safely and so quick and bought some little happiness to zirochka.

That also @livinguktaiwan 😉
Meant more everything you do to help 😁 the volunteering. You have a kind and large heart.

I’m glad too she received it all well and could brighten up her day a little 🥰

Good for you. Well done with the volunteering!
!wine 🍷
!pizza 🍕


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Thanks Dave!!! I imagine you see quite a few Ukrainians coming through Gatwick as well?

Thank you for your contribution 🙏🇺🇦
Greetings form Kharkiv

You are still in Karhkiv? How are things there?

No , I was abroad before the war started . But my father and brother are there and sometimes missiles come but not so often.
Thank you for your care

I upvote since you're donating to @zirochka who does a lot to help out in Kyiv.
Regardless of whether this war is a distraction of something bigger or if this has been planned it is still wrong what Putin is doing. We are ALL human. Animals behave better.

Pootin has totally lost his plot, if he can do this to Ukraine, then he can do it to Finland and Sweden, and who knows what next. And it could cascade around the world as his buddy in China is supporting him

Well done! ❤️❤️❤️

Kindness and frienship such as yours, this is what will the war.

Thanks to Hive, we can all help to get over this disaster

It's awesome everything you are doing to help those whose lives have been turned upside down ♥️ I hope you know that you really did deserve the thanks you got at the airport :)

Thank you, you are so kind with your words 🤗

La gererosidad es uno de los actos más hermosos que hay porque todo lo que hacemos para otra persona, lo hacemos para Dios y nos será devuelto cuando más lo necesitemos, porque en nuestra vida las cosas son cíclicas.

Muchas gracias por tus amables palabras

Hi @livinguktaiwan why did you downvote my daily post ? (its a post that rewards writers ???

maybe you want to read the comments in your post. it will help you to understand

Thanks @livinguktaiwan, I just checked and just removed you from the awards list (as you asked me, in one of your comments that I hadn't read).
Can you correct your downvotes please

Hi @livinguktaiwan As requested, I have removed the posts in question from the list. But, really I haven't had time these last days to read the comments because my computer programming activities in Germany took me a lot of time. I hope that you will take into account my constraints and that you would act taking into consideration my good faith and my sincere apologies.

Nice job this that are you doing here with all the people that is goin to UK. Keep going on

UK get a lot of slack for not doing enough to help as the visa application process is a nightmare, so whatever us little potato from the public can do hopefully helps to balance things out

It always amazes me how the goodness in people come out during times of crisis! I cannot begin to imagine how it must feel to be forced to leave one's home country, and leave behind friends, family & possessions.
We saw how everyone banded together & set up temporary shelter in school, community & church halls to feed & offer a place to sleep.
It's very generous of you to give up your time and to make up a 'hope' parcel for @zirochka, great that the postal service at least is still working.

I was really surprised how fast the parcel arrived, even in normal times I wouldn't expect it arrive that soon. I think people all over Europe have rallied together to do what they can and that is really amazing.

It's so heartwarming when people come together to help in a crisis of such enormous proportions. When will this war end? The destruction of lives and property is going to take years to restore!

This is such beautiful attitude and actions towards those who need it the most right now. It gives me a lot of hope to see that every single country is helping Ukraine in the way they can. Let’s just hope that this insanity gets to an end as soon as possible!

Absolutely, it has been going on for far too long, let's hope Pootin and his mad army will run out of ammunition and energy very soon.

Dude you are doing a good thing, thank you

No thanks needed, it's the least I can do 😀 HOpe all is well with you

What a lovely thing to do @livinguktaiwan

Can't say I'm surprised though, it seems like exactly a thing you'd do.

My sister has taken in a family of four to her home, A granny, Mammy and two teenagers... They are lovely and have been there 4 weeks now. We are giving them our house for two weeks while we're on holidays in June.

Now, your sister is the real gem, and you of course opening your home to them. I hope they are settling in well. We never get to find out what happens to them after they leave the airport, though I imagine they must be looked after well by the host family.

Ya my sister is so good to take them in, her kids are that bit older so it was doable, but still a massive undertaking. We have donated and are delighted to be able to do our bit while we are on holiday.

Small things mean so much when you are out of your element. That is so awesome that you get to be one of the first contacts that the displaced Ukranian people see. You are a true inspiration in all that you do.

Thank you for your kind words Denise. Watching the Ukrainians arrive and meeting their host family for the first time is a very rewarding experience. Although it's not the end of the problem for them, but having gone through weeks to get their visa, it's at least a step forward to safety and stability, before they can return home again, which I know many want to.